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Title: Temporal Changes in Seismic Velocity and Attenuation at The Geysers Geothermal Field, California, From Double‐Difference Tomography

Water injection and Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS) technologies have been used to exploit heat resources from geothermal reservoirs. Detecting spatial and temporal changes in reservoir physical properties is important for monitoring reservoir condition changes due to water injection and EGS. Here, we determine high‐resolution models of the temporal changes in the three‐dimensionalPwave velocity and attenuation (Vp and Qp) structures between the years 2005 and 2011 in the northwestern part of The Geysers geothermal field, California, using double‐difference seismic velocity and attenuation tomography. The northwest Geysers has a shallow normal temperature reservoir (NTR) underlain by a high temperature reservoir (HTR) that has substantial underutilized heat resources but may be more fully utilized in the future through EGS. In the southeastern part of the northwest Geysers, however, EGS has been successfully but unintentionally applied for at least 50 years because the waters injected into the NTR have been flowing into the HTR. Our models are well resolved in this area and show that the NTR and HTR have different seismic responses (seismicity, Vp, and Qp) to water injection, which can be explained by the injection‐induced differences in fracturing and saturation that are likely related to their geological properties. Our results indicate that the joint analysis of changes in seismicity, velocity, and attenuation is valuable for characterizing changes in reservoir fracturing and saturation conditions. Our results suggest that high‐permeability zones and/or pre‐existing permeable fault zones are important for the success of EGS at The Geysers and potentially other geothermal systems.

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DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
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Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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